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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Broadcast Journalism Update – May 6, 2019

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    Life is never a simple, straight line progression. New York Film Academy (NYFA) grad and Austin, Texas resident Nicole Cross made tremendous progress following her graduation. Then, in response to a family crisis, the award-winning anchor/presenter left the TV industry altogether. But, as they used to say on American radio newscasts, “there is good news tonight.” Nicole wrote the following:

    When I stepped away from the tv industry for family reasons last year, I didn’t know if I’d return. Leaving a job I truly loved, turning down job offers outside of Austin to keep my kiddos stably in the same community/schools, patiently working behind the scenes until I was once again free to step in front of the camera.. it has indeed been a journey, but NOW I can officially announce that with best wishes from @kvuenews, I have accepted an offer from @spectrumnewsatx/ @spectrumnewssa to anchor newscasts AND host #InFocusTX, a 30-minute community and public affairs program that broadcasts in #Austin, #San Antonio, and #Waco. This is my dream job… To top that off, my boss is super supportive, my colleagues are top-notch, and the schedule is in perfect harmony with my family time. What I know for sure is that family is worth the sacrifice, balance is key, sometimes you have to pull back to spring forward, and you WILL win if you don’t quit.

    Nicole, we are all happy for you!Broadcast Journalism Update - May 6

    Students who study at New York Film Academy leave here with both a strong production skill set as well as lots of memories. One of the ways they demonstrate those memories is by referring back to their NYFA days online. Recently I was looking at the LinkedIn page of Laura Taglianetti, who is an Associate Producer with NBC News. And her profile picture dates back to her student days at NYFA. (I recognize the old-style “flag” on her microphone.)

    Thanks for remembering us, Laura!

    Recently I had the chance to travel to the other side of the world, to Kazakhstan in Central Asia. I was there to participate in a conference on digital storytelling, along with folks from Russia, Kazakhstan, and Nigeria.

    Broadcast Journalism Update - May 6

    Broadcast Journalism Update - May 6

    It was a fabulous opportunity to compare notes with international colleagues. I even got the chance to test out the news anchor/presenter’s seat at one of the major Kazakh TV channels. But I must admit, I had a bit of trouble reading the teleprompter copy…

    Broadcast Journalism Update - May 6Broadcast Journalism Update - May 6

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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Board Member Matthew Modine Runs for SAG-AFTRA President

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    Actor, activist, filmmaker, and New York Film Academy (NYFA) Board Member Matthew Modine is running for president of the Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA), one of Hollywood’s most prominent labor unions.  

    Modine has starred in such films as Full Metal Jacket, Birdy, Married to the Mob, The Dark Knight Rises, Sicario: Day of the Soldado, Short Cuts, as well as the hit Netflix series, Stranger Things. He has been nominated for both a Primetime Emmy and multiple Golden Globes.

     

    Modine currently serves as a board member for New York Film Academy, and occasionally teaches master classes in acting to NYFA students. Additionally, Modine sponsors the New York Film Academy Matthew Modine Masters Scholarship, which provides financial assistance to outstanding candidates of the school’s Master of Fine Arts (MFA) programs in Filmmaking and Acting for Film.

     

    Modine was elected to the SAG-AFTRA national board in 2017. Incumbent president Gabrielle Carteris has not yet announced whether she will seek re-election, and Modine is the first candidate to announce he’s running for the next election. Members are expected to receive ballots later this year.

    “As a current national and local board member of SAG-AFTRA, it would be my honor to represent all 160,000 members of the union I have proudly been a member of for nearly four decades,” Modine said in a released statement earlier today. “It is my privilege to stand up for our legacy in order to safeguard our future. There comes a time when we must work to ensure that current and future membership will be able to enjoy the basic rights and securities our union has always provided. It’s my time to give back.” 

     

    Modine will be representing the Membership First faction of SAG-AFTRA, and has received endorsements from former union presidents William Daniels, Ed Asner, and Alan Rosenberg, as well as from current SAG-AFTRA national board members Martin Sheen, Frances Fisher, Pam Guest, David Jolliffe, Esai Morales, Patricia Richardson, Jodi Long, and Marie Fink.

    Additionally, Modine has received support from SAG-AFTRA members Ed Harris, Vincent D’Onofrio, Alfred Molina, Mira Sorvino, Eric Stoltz, Nancy Sinatra, Patricia Arquette, Rosanna Arquette, Sean Astin, Marcia Cross, Bruce Davison, Jennifer Beals, Ernie Hudson, and Bill Mumy.

    You can support Matthew Modine’s campaign for SAG-AFTRA president HERE.

     

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    April 29, 2019 • Acting, Faculty Highlights • Views: 840

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Filmmaking Alum Rozette Rago Photographs Steven Spielberg and the Cast of ‘Crazy Rich Asians’

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    Freelance photographer and New York Film Academy (NYFA) Workshop alum Rozette Rago was recently profiled by ABS-CBN news. Rago has photographed several high-profile subjects, including Steven Spielberg, U2, and the cast of Crazy Rich Asians, and often shoots for The New York Times.

    Rago hails from Marilao in the Philippines and is currently based in Los Angeles. In 2011, Rago completed New York Film Academy’s 8-week Filmmaking Workshop. Her first big break came after shooting legendary rock group U2. Since then, she has worked for  national publications including FADER, Buzzfeed News, Bloomberg, TIME, The Washington Post, Vanity Fair, Smithsonian Books, VICE, and HBO. Additionally, she has shot on the set of famed sitcom Will & Grace, and has worked as a photo editor for Time Out Los Angeles.

    Rozette Rago

    Rago is also a freelance photographer for The New York Times, and has worked with the publication to shoot subjects including musician Shirley Manson, actor Riz Ahmed, racing driver Robert Shwartzman, the cast of Crazy Rich Asians, and filmmaker Steven Spielberg.

    When asked about shooting such high-profile subjects, Rago told ABS-CBN, “The biggest challenge with these shoots is maintaining composure. I have very limited time with them so I always have to stay focused on the images I need. I allow myself to freak out later when I’m driving home.”

    The interview and profile also focuses on Rago’s position as a woman of color in an industry that has been traditionally male-dominated, but that has been undergoing a seismic—yet, gradual—shift in the past few years.

    Rago currently works as photo editor at Wirecutter, a product review website owned by The New York Times. She also continues to shoot freelance.

    The New York Film Academy congratulates Filmmaking alum Rozette Rago on her continued success as a photographer!

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    #Repost @nytimes ・・・ “I wanted this to be the ‘Avengers’ of Asian actors.” @crazyrichasians isn't a Marvel superhero film, but the movie does have epic ambitions of its own: with an all-Asian cast (featuring @constancewu, @henrygolding, @awkwafina, @kenjeong and others), #CrazyRichAsians hopes to pave the way for Asian-led films in Hollywood. "If we make a decent showing on that first weekend, there are like 6 Asian-American lead movies set up at different studios," said the director @jonmchu. But for @crazyrichasians, the casting process was anything but simple. The search began in 2013, when producers acquired the right to the book from @kevinkwanbooks. Then, to assemble the movie's cast, @jonmchu and the producers embarked on an extensive talent search process, including an open casting call for Asian and Asian-American performers. “We just didn’t want to miss anybody,” he said. As a result, the film features an international cast, with actors from Singapore, China, Britain, Australia, Malaysia and more. When it hits theaters next week, it comes not just as a #romcom but also as the first major Hollywood film set in the present day to showcase a majority Asian cast in 25 years. @hellorozette took this portrait of members of the cast. Visit the link in our profile to read about what being in @crazyrichasians means to the movie’s stars. (And if you’re in NYC, join a few of them for a @timestalks screening and talk on August 14. You can find the details at the link in our profile.)

    A post shared by Rozette Rago (@hellorozette) on

     

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    April 29, 2019 • Filmmaking, Photography, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 455

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Co-Produces Upcoming “Star Trek” Documentary “What We Left Behind”

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) has co-produced What We Left Behind: Looking Back at Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, an upcoming documentary scheduled for release later this year. In addition, several students of NYFA’s Industry Lab worked on the film’s crew.

    Directed by Ira Steven Behr and David Zappone, the documentary is a deep look at the fourth installment in the Star Trek franchise. Deep Space Nine, which aired from 1993-1999, stands out from previous Star Trek films and shows due to its darker tone and pioneering serialized structure, with now-commonplace season- and series-long story arcs that were rare for most television dramas before the turn of the century. Additionally, its ensemble cast was much more diverse than typical shows at the time, led by African American actor Avery Brooks as Captain Benjamin Sisko.

    Deep Space Nine, Star Trek

    NYFA provided production resources for the film on numerous occasions, including film equipment for interviews, location shoots, and a road trip to a Las Vegas Star Trek convention. Several students from the NYFA Industry Lab also worked on the film over the course of several shoot days. The crew included BFA Filmmaking students Star Li, Ferid Hasbun, and Rupert Sanchez as camera operators; MA Film & Media student Patrick Anenu as 1st AC; and Anvar Madraimov, and David Bu as Grip & Electric.

    The significant resources provided to the production led to NYFA being named in the credits for What We Left Behind—NYFA Principal and Owner Jean Sherlock and Dean of Students, Los Angeles and CSO Dan Mackler are listed as Co-Executive Producers (NYFA). This isn’t NYFA’s only connection to the Star Trek universe; Adam Nimoy, director of multiple Star Trek episodes and For the Love of Spock—a documentary about his father, Leonard Nimoy—has taught at the Academy.

    The film features interviews with nearly all of the show’s cast members, as well as several people who worked behind the scenes. Director Behr was both a writer and producer for the series, as well as its showrunner for several seasons.

    The New York Film Academy looks forward to the release of What We Left Behind: Looking Back at Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and encourages everyone to check out the film when it becomes available! 

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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Instructor Ayelet Zurer Stars in Netflix Hit ‘Shtisel’

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailAward-winning actress and New York Film Academy (NYFA) Acting for Film Instructor Ayelet Zurer is currently starring in Netflix’s newest binge-worthy hit. Shtisel is a innovative Israeli drama that focuses on a family of ultra-Orthodox Jews in a Haredi neighborhood in Jerusalem. The actress stars as Elisheva, a widowed mother who captures the heart of Akiva, a shy young man struggling with his father’s matchmaking efforts.

    Zurer is a familiar face in films and television in both America and Israel. She has starred opposite Tom Hanks in Angels & Demons, Russell Crowe in Man of Steel, Ewan McGregor in Last Days in the Desert, and Jeff Goldblum and Willem Dafoe in Adam Resurrected. Zurer also starred on multiple seasons of Marvel’s Daredevil on Netflix and In Therapy (adapted as HBO’s In Treatment). She received the Israeli Academy of Film (OFIR) Best Actress Award for Nina’s Tragedies, and is a two-time winner of the Israeli Academy of Television’s Best Actress Award.

    The Hebrew-language Shtisel is making headlines for its honest and touching portrayal of a traditionally insular community. The New Yorker calls the show “generous, lighthearted, and nostalgic,” and says the show’s success is “the result of several powerfully understated performances, most notably by Ayelet Zurer in the role of Elisheva.” The New York Times was similarly complimentary, calling the show “groundbreaking.”

    Though the show was originally screened in 2013-14, the show’s success on Netflix has been so impressive that its original creators are currently considering creating a third season. In addition, an American version of the show has already been sold Amazon by Marta Kauffman, one of the creators of classic 1990s sitcom Friends. The show, to be set in Brooklyn, will be titled Emmis.

    The New York Film Academy congratulates Ayelet Zurer on her continued success and looks forward to seeing her future projects!

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    April 25, 2019 • Acting, Faculty Highlights • Views: 148

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Acting for Film Alum Jason Shah Interviewed by ‘The Tribune’

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    Earlier this year, New York Film Academy (NYFA) Acting for Film alum Jason Shah was interviewed in a Q&A with The Tribune, the daily English-language newspaper that has been circulated throughout India since 1881.

    Shah first attended NYFA’s Acting for Film program in September 2009 at our New York City campus, where he received a hands-on education from working, professional actors, writers, directors, and producers who are veterans of Hollywood, independent film, and television. In addition to acting, he has modeled and worked as a fitness coach.

    Jason Shah

    His credits include Indian productions such as Bigg Boss, Chandrashekhar Azaad, Inside Edge Season II, and the film Dev D. His latest role in the historical drama Jhansi Ki Rani, which co-stars Anuja Sathe, Aishwarya Raj Bhakuni, and Rajesh Shringarpure, gained Shah enough buzz for The Tribune to sit down with him for an interview.

    Shah spoke of his background—he is half English and half American—as well as his new role in Jhansi Ki Rani. The series, which premiered this year, is the story of the fierce warrior Manikarnika, who was later given the name of Rani Laxmibai, Queen of Jhansi. Shah credits his fluency in Hindi as a crucial skill for landing the part, as well as sharing a lot in common with his character, a foreigner in India.

    Acting isn’t Shah’s only passion. When asked by The Tribune where he saw himself in five years, Shah replied, “I feel after this I might want to go into direction and produce something myself. I have been working on it with a few friends, just waiting for the right time.”

    The New York Film Academy congratulates Acting for Film alum Jason Shah on his Tribune interview and his role on Jhansi Ki Rani!

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    April 24, 2019 • Acting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 380

  • ‘Enter the Forbidden City’ Premieres at New York Film Academy (NYFA)

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    On April 22, well-known Chinese director Mei Hu premiered her newest film, Enter the Forbidden City, at New York Film Academy (NYFA). The event was held at the theatre of NYFA’s New York campus, located near Battery Park in downtown Manhattan.

    Enter the Forbidden City tells the story of an 18th century opera troupe from Southern China that visits the capital city of Beijing to celebrate the Emperor’s 80th birthday. The Emperor was so impressed that the troupe was invited to stay in the city, where they helped usher in the Chinese art form now known today as “Peking opera.”

    Enter the Forbidden City

    The film took three years to complete and was written by Jingzhi Zou. It stars Dalong Fu, Yili Ma, and Ziwen Wang, among others.

    The premiere played to a full theatre. NYFA’s Senior Executive Vice President, David Klein, introduced the film, and expounded on the strong relationship NYFA has with Chinese cinema and Chinese film schools. Several students from NYFA attended the premiere as well.

    Before the screening, Hu spoke to the audience about the film, as well as about China’s role in global cinema today. She mentioned that the American film, Avengers: Endgame, will be released on April 24 but has already passed 500 million Chinese Yuan in pre-sale tickets, an incredible amount of money. This is the first time an American film of this size has been released in China before its domestic premiere, a historic moment in Hollywood-China cinema.

    The Enter the Forbidden City screening went very well, with the film receiving a good reception overall from the packed house crowd at New York Film Academy.

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    April 23, 2019 • China, Filmmaking • Views: 673

  • Q&A with New York Film Academy (NYFA) Alum and Emmy Winner Bill Hader

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    On Thursday, April 18, New York Film Academy (NYFA) alum and prolific actor, writer, and director Bill Hader participated in a lively and entertaining Q&A following a screening of his hit HBO series Barry. The event was moderated by Director of the NYFA Q&A Series Tova Laiter.

    Hader is best known for his work on Saturday Night Live, for which he won an Emmy, and has acted in a number of successful films including Superbad (2007), The Skeleton Twins (2014) and Trainwreck (2015), among many others. 

    Laiter opened up the Q&A by asking Hader about his start in the industry. He shared that while he did funny impressions for his friends and family when he was growing up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, he really loved to go to the movies. “When I watched a movie, I got really drawn in by the story, the cinematography, the look of it, the feel of it,” said Hader. 

    When Hader was a teenager, he enjoyed making short films of his own and enrolled in a Filmmaking workshop at NYFA where he made four short films and got a lot of positive feedback from his instructors. Ultimately, Hader moved to Los Angeles, where he started as a production assistant and various low level jobs in the industry.

    Bill Hader

    After working for a while as a production assistant, Hader started to feel creatively unsatisfied, so he started taking improv comedy classes at Second City Theater in Hollywood. Actress Megan Mullally saw Hader perform at Second City and noticed how talented he was and told executive producer of Saturday Night Live, Lorne Michaels, about him. “I had no manager, no agent, no anything,” said Hader, “so I met Lorne Michaels and I auditioned… I auditioned like four or five times for the show… and finally I got the job.”

    A number of students in the audience were interested in asking Hader questions. One student asked how Hader makes his acting feel authentic on shows like Barry. “You have to be truthful, instinctual, and not just go for the laughs,” said Hader. He shared that he watches others express their emotions through small idiosyncrasies and that he will occasionally mimic those mannerisms while acting.

    Another student inquired about Hader’s writing process for Barry. “We kind of have little ‘tentpole’ scenes,” said Hader, “we gotta write this to get to that… We’re constantly working on it but we never fully plan… but the fun of it is kinda seeing where the characters take it… Know that the process is messy and that you’re gonna fail a lot.” He emphasized that writing should always be “character driven” and centered on emotion.

    Bill Hader

    One student asked what advice Hader would give to his younger self when he was starting his career. “I would say to myself, ‘You don’t need to figure it all out this millisecond; it takes time.’ 

    I was terrified of failing… but you have to fail; you have to learn from that and keep doing it and keep doing it… it’s all a process,” said Hader.

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank actor, writer, and NYFA alum Bill Hader for sharing his writing and acting advice as well as the lessons he learned from his experience in the entertainment industry with our students.

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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Filmmakers Direct ‘Thrive’ with Maroon 5’s Jesse Carmichael

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) alum Shivin Sanjeev Grover and his brother, NYFA BFA student Sunny Grover, recently collaborated with Maroon 5 keyboardist and rhythm guitarist Jesse Carmichael on the two minute short film Thrive, which focuses on the struggle and obstacles still faced today by the LGBTQIA+ community.

    The film was written and directed by Shivin and Sunny, two brothers from India, and is part of Carmichael’s 2 Minute Movies (2mm) project, which was created last year. Thrive is the first film to come from 2mm with a focus on LGBTQIA+ rights.

    Thrive Maroon 5

    In an interview with Get Out Magazine, Carmichael says he is “hoping that things are moving in a more and more equanimous and loving, tolerant, and open direction in [India],” adding that Shivin and Sunny “reached out to me with an idea about doing some sort of film in the realm of trying to open people’s eyes to the violence that people in [the] LGBTQIA+ etc. experience.”

    Carmichael first rose to fame as a founding member of rock/pop group Maroon 5, one of the most popular and successful rock bands of all time. Maroon 5 played the Halftime Show at the most recent Super Bowl and have such hits as “Girls Like You,” “Sugar,” “Moves Like Jagger,” and “This Love.”

    “Through this process, we had the honor of being mentored by Jesse Carmichael who implored us to explore the subtlety and elegance that can be achieved through visuals and music,” says Shivin. “This experience goes beyond words and went on to make this process all the more special.”

    Thrive is a visually evocative and emotionally powerful film, that gets a lot across in its short two-minute running time. “We set out to create a visual letter that juxtaposes the love shared within the community with the violence and hate inflicted by those who have not yet had the chance to share this acceptance with us,” adds Shivin. 

    The film has been critically well received and was featured in at least two national magazines to date, as well as a laudatory review from renowned film critic Alan Ng and a recommendation from the BAFTA- and Oscar-qualifying Aesthetica Short Film Festival.

    Thrive Maroon 5

    In addition to the two brothers, much of Thrive’s film crew also came from New York Film Academy. This includes current NYFA BFA students Rob Hughes (key grip) and Jessica Coro (art director), and NYFA alumni Nupur Mehrotra (producer), Alex Cvetkov (cinematographer), Brandon Lattman (gaffer), Hala Abou Chakra (assistant director), and Maria Quintana (set photographer). In addition to co-writing and co-directing, Sunny also served as the film’s production designer.

    The New York Film Academy congratulates the NYFA students and alumni on their hard work and the success of Thrive, and wishes the best of luck to co-directors Shivin Sanjeev and Sunny Grover as they continue to make films they are passionate about!

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    April 22, 2019 • Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 246

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Photography Instructor Joan Pamboukes Speaks at Artexpo New York

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    On Saturday, April 6, New York Film Academy (NYFA) Photography Instructor Joan Pamboukes gave a lecture at the Artexpo New York. The Artexpo was held from April 4 – 7 at Pier 90 on Manhattan’s West Side. Each year thousands of art industry insiders flock to Artexpo New York in search of art and artists that can influence trends in galleries worldwide.

    artexpo

    Pamboukes is an award-winning artist based in Astoria, Queens. Her artwork has been exhibited at venues including The Montclair Art Museum, Chashama UpTown, The Dumbo Arts Festival, and The Arts Council of Princeton. Honors for her work include the 2014 Sky Award, the 1999 Art and Literacy Award, and the 1999 Albert Munsell Media & Performing Arts Award.

    Pamboukes’s lecture was entitled Media Transections & Contemporary Photography Influences, and discussed her work, which explores projects that transect human interactivity with screens—including smartphones, television, and video games—as well as how the human experience is currently shaped by the dominance of advanced technology in modern society.

    On display was Pamboukes’s portfolios, featuring “images that flash before us, mingling with personal memories and emotions, and influencing our state of mind.” Visual artists, collectors, gallery owners, art dealers, and anyone else interested in statement art and fine art photography were invited to attend the presentation, held at the Education Pavilion. Pamboukes was introduced by New York Film Academy Chair of Photography David Mager.

    “Joan is not only an incredible professor, but an amazing artist as well,” Mager recently told NYFA. “Her work looking at today’s technology is sometimes sardonic, but always interesting and beautiful.” He added, “She often brings her artistic vision and approach into the classroom.”

    Later this year, Pamboukes will have work on display at the Open World: Video Games and Contemporary art exhibition, curated by Theresa Bembnister at the Akron Art Museum, exhibiting from October 2019 – February 2020. The show is expected to travel as well.

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    April 17, 2019 • Faculty Highlights, Photography • Views: 431